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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: March 14, 2018 12:33 PM
From: Representative Aaron Bernstine and Rep. Jim Christiana, Rep. John Maher
To: All House members
Subject: State-Related Institution Transparency and Accountability
We plan to introduce a three bill package promoting transparency and accountability in Pennsylvania’s state-related institutions. These institutions receive considerable funding from the Commonwealth, but are not held to the same standards as the State System of Higher Education institutions.

The state-related institutions are as follows:
(1) Temple University
(2) The University of Pittsburgh
(3) The Pennsylvania State University
(4) Lincoln University

Please join us in co-sponsoring these important pieces of legislation to ensure that Pennsylvania’s state-related institutions are acting as responsible stewards of taxpayer resources.

Document #1

Description: Proposal #1:  This legislation expands the extent of documents and financial information that is statutorily required for state-related institutions through the Right-to-Know law. Currently they are not subject to the law, but the law requires the institutions to make a report of some limited financial information including certain employees’ salaries to the General Assembly, Auditor General and Governor.

Document #2

Introduced as HB2675

Description: Proposal #2:  This legislation subjects members of the Board of Trustees and other employees of state-related institutions who are responsible for taking or recommending official action to the requirements of Pennsylvania’s Ethics Act. This would require these individuals to file statements of financial interest.

Document #3

Introduced as HB2676

Description: Proposal #3:  This legislation makes substantial changes to structure and operation of the Penn State Board of Trustees, many of which are also recommendations noted by the Auditor General in a recent performance audit report.  Specifically, this legislation will limit the size of the board to twenty-one voting members and one nonvoting member, as follows:
  • The Governor, who will serve as the nonvoting member;
  • The Secretary of Education;
  • The Secretary of Agriculture;
  • The Secretary of Conservation and Natural Resources;
  • Nine alumni representatives (elected by alumni);
  • Three members representing business and industry interests elected by business and industry associations;
  • Three members representing agricultural interests elected by agricultural associations; and
  • Three at-large members, one of whom must be a student enrolled at the institution.
This legislation also provides for a majority of trustees to constitute a quorum, establishes three-year terms for trustees, and limits the total number of years served by a trustee to nine years in the aggregate.